Nebraska Football Spring Look Back: Quarterback
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Spring Look Back: Quarterback

We begin our spring football positional recaps today by giving our final take on Nebraska's quarterbacks...

Casey Thompson quickly emerged as the clear frontrunner for Nebraska's starting quarterback job.
Casey Thompson quickly emerged as the clear frontrunner for Nebraska's starting quarterback job. (Associated Press)

WHAT WE LEARNED: It's Casey Thompson's job to lose

For the first time in four years, Nebraska had a wide-open quarterback competition on its hands following the departure of four-year starter Adrian Martinez.

The Huskers had five scholarship QBs on their roster going into the start of spring practices. But it didn't take long for Texas transfer Casey Thompson to emerge from the pack as the clear frontrunner for the starting job.

With Florida State transfer Chubba Purdy (foot), redshirt freshman Heinrich Haarberg (hand), and true freshman Richard Torres (knee) all limited or out for the spring, that left sophomore Logan Smothers as Thompson's top competition.

It will be interesting to see how that race changes when NU returns for fall camp, and guys like Purdy, Haarberg, and Torres are 100 percent. But, for now, it looks like the No. 1 quarterback spot for 2022 is Thompson's to lose.

Chubba Purdy missed half of the spring with an injury, but he showcased his potential in NU's spring game.
Chubba Purdy missed half of the spring with an injury, but he showcased his potential in NU's spring game. (Associated Press)

BIGGEST SPRING CONCERN: It wasn't much of a battle

Nebraska's idea behind bringing in two transfer quarterbacks this offseason was to create as much competition as possible in finding Martinez's replacement.

Instead, injuries left the position pretty clear-cut, with Thompson hardly getting pushed during the spring.

Again, fall camp should be a different story when the rest of the room gets fully healthy, especially Purdy.

But the last thing head coach Scott Frost wanted this spring was a situation where there was a glaring separation between the top guy and everyone else. That's exactly what NU got.

The Huskers need someone to step up and at least push Thompson during fall camp. The old saying is that competition makes everyone better, and without it, Thompson could coast into the starting role without much of a challenge.

Heinrich Haarberg might not be ready to push for the starting job yet, but he continued to flash his potential this spring.
Heinrich Haarberg might not be ready to push for the starting job yet, but he continued to flash his potential this spring. (Associated Press)

SPRING SURPRISE: Purdy's delayed development

Purdy was the player who was supposed to push Thompson as much as any of Nebraska's quarterbacks.

But a foot injury held him out of the first half of spring ball, and it wasn't until the final few practices that he started to look like what the Huskers had hoped when they signed him.

Purdy showed flashes of his talent during the Red-White Spring Game, completing 5-of-10 passes for 63 yards, highlighted by a beautiful 27-yard strike to AJ Rollins.

Nebraska desperately needs the former four-star recruit out of Gilbert (Ariz.) Perry to have a strong summer and be ready to hit the ground running in fall camp.

Will Logan Smothers continue to battle for the No. 1 job this fall, or will he look for opportunities elsewhere?
Will Logan Smothers continue to battle for the No. 1 job this fall, or will he look for opportunities elsewhere? (Associated Press)

LOOKING AHEAD: What will happen with Smothers?

It certainly looks like it will be a two-horse race for the starting quarterback job between Thompson and Purdy this fall.

So what does that mean for Smothers?

The third-year QB certainly hasn't given any indication that he might transfer if he's not named the starter. In fact, he's seemed fully committed to the Huskers in every interview he's done.

But Purdy and Haarberg are both a class younger than him, and Torres is now in the mix as a true freshman. Nebraska also already has its quarterback for 2023 in three-star William Watson.

That's why it seemed like this offseason was Smothers' last real chance to make his case. Will he continue to stick it out and keep fighting for the job in fall camp? Or will Smothers look for greener pastures elsewhere in the transfer portal?